Bare-faced Messiah


It was a scene that could have been ripped from the yellowing pages of the pulp science fiction that L. Ron Hubbard wrote in the Thirties . . .

A strangely alien group of young people who believe they are immortal set up a secret base in an abandoned health spa in the desert in southern California. Fearful of outsiders, they suspect they have been discovered by the FBI. In a panic, they begin to destroy any documents that might incriminate their leader. It is essential they protect him, for they believe he alone can save the world.

Searching through the top floor of a derelict hotel, one of their number discovers a stack of battered cardboard boxes and begins pulling out faded photographs, dog-eared manuscripts, diaries written in a childish scrawl and school reports. There are twenty-one boxes in all, each stuffed with memorabilia, even baby clothes.

The young man rummaging through the boxes is ecstatic. He is certain he has made a discovery of profound significance, for all the material documents the early life of his leader At last, he thinks, it will be possible to refute all the lies spread by their enemies. At last it will be possible to prove to the world, beyond doubt, that his leader really is a genius and miracle worker . . .

Thus was the stage set for the inexorable unmasking of L. Ron Hubbard, the saviour who never was.

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